Charlie Allen Op-Ed Addresses Marijuana Use for IC Applicants

Charlie Allen Op-Ed Addresses Marijuana Use for IC Applicants

Charlie Allen Op-Ed Addresses Marijuana Use for IC Applicants

Cannabis & Clearances: Unnecessarily Weeding Out Applicants

By Charles E. Allen (Published on ClearanceJobs.com | July 22, 2020)

The U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) competes for talent, especially in cutting-edge fields like cybersecurity and engineering in which private employers pay more than government agencies. However, longstanding federal policies prohibiting pre-employment marijuana use make more than 40% of college students ineligible for the security clearances needed to work on national security issues. To enlarge the IC’s recruiting pool, the government should end, or at least ease, inflexible policies on applicants’ use of marijuana; standardize policies across agencies; and work with universities to make students aware of policies before they begin their job searches.

As a 51-year veteran of the Intelligence Community, I do not condone any type of illegal drug use. But intelligence agencies no longer have a monopoly on careers involving cutting-edge technology or exotic international travel, and inflexible policies on pre-employment marijuana use drive talented students to the private sector. If the Intelligence Community wants to attract exceptional young people to serve their country, it must adapt along with American society.

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Caroline Henry

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